Zach Conti

  • published Sudan Debt Relief Moves Forward in Press 2021-05-07 14:04:05 -0400

    Sudan Debt Relief Moves Forward

    US Plays Major Role in Sudan Relief Effort

    Washington DC – Under a debt relief plan won by advocates in the early 2000s, Sudan could see a drastic cut in its $50 billion debt this summer, according to the IMF and the World Bank. 

    “Sudan’s debts would be cut by 85% under the debt relief plan,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network, which was a major force for the creation of the debt reduction process. “Debt relief cannot come soon enough for Sudan as the country struggles with the pandemic and a 50% poverty rate."

    Thirty-seven, out of thirty-nine eligible countries, received debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative or HIPC. In order for Sudan to receive a debt reduction it must meet IMF economic reforms and clear missed debt payments. The United States loaned $1.1 billion to Sudan to clear debt payment arrears to the World Bank and convened creditors to secure debt relief.

    "The United States is an important leader in Sudan debt relief and is playing a crucial role in expanding debt relief policies during the pandemic," shared LeCompte, who worked with Republican and Democratic administrations for more than a decade on debt policies. "This relief for Sudan can support economic growth and stabilize a hard-won peace in a country where conflict raged for 17 years."

    After Sudan obtains debt relief, Eritrea remains the lone country that could qualify under the HIPC debt relief plan won by Jubilee USA.


  • published US Supports Removal of Vaccine Trade Barrier in Press 2021-05-06 10:48:07 -0400

    US Supports Removal of Vaccine Trade Barrier

    Washington DC - As developing countries struggle to access vaccines, the US announced support to eliminate trade barriers on vaccine access. In a statement Wednesday, the Biden Administration called for a waiver on COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property patents at the World Trade Organization.

    “Less than 2% of vaccines reached poor countries,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. "Intellectual property rights prevent developing countries from making their own vaccines or accessing generic versions."

    The IMF states that uneven vaccine access is a main cause of global economic uncertainty. 

    "When the majority of countries are not accessing vaccines, the virus continues to mutate and could reinfect vaccinated people in wealthy countries," noted LeCompte. "Continuing coronavirus waves, in any part of the world, mean economic shocks from exports and imports for every country."

    President Biden pledged $4 billion to a global fund to help poor countries acquire safe and effective vaccines.


  • Just Love Features Eric LeCompte on Global Covid Response

    Just Love interviews Eric LeCompte on the global economic impact of the pandemic, poverty, inequality, climate change, and the work of Jubilee USA. Click here to listen to the episode from 4:45 to 27:47. 

    The Global Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change; and a Look at Immigration Law, Policies and Procedures

    Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte 

     

    "Had the crisis resolution process to continually stop financial crisis and reduce debt that Pope Francis called for at the United Nations in 2015, we would not be dealing with as a severe economic crisis for all countries in the world."

    "At Jubilee, we are focused on making sure that enough aid goes to the developing world. Because of the crisis, developing countries are about a trillion dollars short of getting to where they were before the crisis started."

    "The most consequential decisions on climate change will not be made by the United Nations in the next month or next five years. They are actually going to be made as a part of the same financial decisions we are discussing via the IMF and the G20."

    "The problems we are dealing with did not begin with the pandemic, they were challenges that were already in place. We got into this crisis because we haven't put in place the actual solutions world leaders have agreed upon over the last 20 years."

    "We should move forward permanent solutions into the financial system that can continually address inequality and extreme poverty and ensure that countries have the revenue and aids they need."

    "The greatest challenge that we face around development  is that because of the current crisis we are losing all of the gains we made since the early 1990s."

    "The crisis is incredibly concerning and that is why the structural policies that Jubilee USA and the religious community work on are so important because these policies will help countries to go back to where they were before the pandemic and will help prevent the next crisis."

     

    Click here to listen to the episode from 4:45 to 27:47.

     


  • Eric LeCompte Addresses Special UN Session on COVID Response

    United Nations ECOSOC Special Session on Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing States: 
    Financing a resilient recovery from the cascading effects of COVID-19 

    23 April 2021

    "The Promise of a Post Pandemic World Where We All Have Enough"

    By Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network
    (Remarks as prepared for delivery)


    Your Excellencies, it's good to be with you for this critical high-level event on COVID response for Small Island Developing States (SIDs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and some of the world's poorest countries or Least Developed Countries (LDCs). I'd like to especially thank His Excellency, Munir Akram for focusing us on countries struggling with specific disadvantages from the crisis.

    As we are all aware, we face the most serious crisis of our lifetimes and no country has escaped the economic or health crises spurred by the wrath of this pandemic. 495 million jobs lost, 265 million more people face famine, 95 million more people entered the ranks of extreme poverty over the last year and millions of lives lost to COVID. From wealthy countries to poor countries, jobs are gone and millions of children experience hunger for the first time. 

    With great sadness, we question whether our dream to reach the Sustainable Development Goals will ever be a reality. Will we have the ability to muster the political will not only to emerge from resilience from this great crisis, but to ensure our goals to end poverty, address inequality and protect our planet are realized?

    Small islands, poor countries and landlocked nations faced considerable risks and vulnerabilities before the pandemic struck. The COVID pandemic made the situation worse and too many countries are left out of global agreements to deal with the crisis. These countries struggle to provide vaccines and lack aid to support jobs, address climate change and feed their people.

    While this morning we highlighted the vulnerabilities unique to small islands, now we focus on the challenges and the solutions for the poorest, Least Developing Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries.

    Let's be clear about the unique challenges LDCs and LLDCs face.

    LDCs face acute vulnerability: relatively small economic size, sluggish progress of structural transformation and heightened dependence on external aid and finance, institutional weaknesses, political instability and in too many cases, conflict.

    The proportion of the global poor in the LDCs more than doubled since 1990. Nearly half of the population in LDCs live in extreme poverty, compared to 12% in other developing  countries.

    Economic growth is highly volatile in the poor LDCs. These are countries extremely vulnerable to external shocks such as sharp swings in trade, commodity prices, disasters and  pandemics. Before COVID we remember the shock to the three West African countries to Ebola.

    LDCs suffer from aid dependence. Official Development Assistance (ODA) accounted for one third of total external development financing of Least Developed Countries in 2014–2017, as compared with just 4.5 per cent for all other developing countries.

    The level of concessionality decreased –this is true for developing countries in general, but especially hits Least Developed Countries because they are so aid dependent. Grants are stagnant. The proportion of loans in total ODA disbursements to LDCs increased by more than 10 percentage points between 2011 and 2017, surpassing 25 per cent in 2017.

    Before the pandemic, LDCs total stock of external debt more than doubled between 2007 and 2017, jumping from $146 billion to $313 billion. As of May 2019, 18 of the 46 LDCs covered by the Debt Sustainability Framework of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, already faced debt crisis. These countries are relying more on commercial creditors and of bilateral non-Paris Club creditors.

    While many Least Developed Countries are Landlocked developing countries, they all share in common challenges that are exacerbated by the corona crisis. Unsustainable debts, lack of health infrastructure, tax evasion, the relative size of the informal economy compared to the formal economy, weak tax administration systems, corruption, illicit financial flows and underperforming public institutions are some of the challenges.

    More deeply LLDCs lack infrastructure – which they need to offset geographical constraints or "landlocked" constraints. An estimate of 2018 put infrastructure financing requirements to cover all components of infrastructure from 2018 to 2030 in the LLDCs to $180 billion or $15 billion a year in 2010 dollars. Their dependence on transit through neighbors made them more exposed to negative impacts because of restrictions the COVID response required.

    The last great point of concern for both LDCs and LLDCs, is the lack of vaccine access. For the LDCs and LLDCs, across Africa - for example - less than 1% of their populations have been vaccinated.

    Given the problems LDCs and LLDCs face, let us examine a few critical solutions to address the pandemic, have a chance of emerging from the crisis with resilience and get us back on track towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Let me frame four areas that need our immediate attention for LDCs and LLDCs:

    1.) Taxation - The US Treasury and IMF call for a global minimum corporate tax, is important and will raise global revenues. While we move towards consensus on this tax, this year, we must also acknowledge a common digital tax which could help raise the most significant revenues for developing countries.

    2.) Increasing Aid flows - The countries we are discussing today need support. Two areas that are important are a reboot and increase to development banks to support highly concessional lending. These banks need more than $200 billion replenishment to deal with the needs of these countries. Additionally, with consensus moving forward on accessing global reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of $650 billion, the $224 billion that will be immediately generated for developing low-income and middle-income countries will be essential. Now our conversation must turn to ensuring that the remainder $400 billion plus is reallocated in ways to support the needs of the countries we are discussing. SDRs reallocation should come as grants, not as more debt.

    3.) Expanding debt reduction and transparency efforts is critical in several ways.

    In terms of the G20 Common Framework to reduce debts.

    A.) We need to be sure that all countries we are discussing can access debt reduction. So the framework needs to be expanded to include Middle-Income Countries that need relief, several of the landlocked countries we are focused on today.

    B.) A promising feature of the Common Framework is that countries need to request comparable treatment from private sector. In spite of UN, US, G20, World Bank and IMF calls for the private sector to participate, much of the private sector continues to resist. Given LDCs and LLDCs are more dependent on commercial and private lending, these countries need the private sector to participate. We must ensure that the Common Framework compels comparable treatment from the private creditors.

    C.) Given that these countries will likely continue to face debt challenges, we need to begin the conversation on how the Common Framework can lay the groundwork for a permanent facility.

    D.) Beyond the Common Framework discussion, every country can protect themselves with the power of debt transparency. I urge all Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries to publish the terms of private and public debt contracts in a vehicle available for public review - before, the contracts are signed. This can be done in a national registry or newspaper. Taking this action would also remove the chief concern of the private sector on publicizing this information: competitiveness. Because all debt contracts would be publicly and transparently available, the issue of competitiveness becomes moot.

    4.) Vaccine Distribution - Again, of the LDCs and LLDCs we discussed today in Africa, less than 1 percent of their populations have been able to access one dose of the vaccine.

    A.) We must move forward a vaccine patent waiver so more production can move forward.

    B.) Wealthy countries must start donating their surplus of vaccines to developing countries.

    The vaccine question is critical for these countries in terms of economic growth, revenue raising and achieving debt sustainability. Dealing with vaccine equity for developing countries is linked to wealthy economies as well. The longer that developed countries lack vaccine access, wealthy countries will face challenges with exports and imports. The longer we wait to vaccinate the developing world, the more virus variants and mutations will evolve and re-infect people in all countries and affect northern economies.

    In closing - according to the most recent IMF data - most countries will be in worse shape post pandemic. Only two will experience more certain recovery, the United States and China. Even in these countries, poverty and inequality increases.

    My largest concern is that as some countries experience differing degrees of recovery, we will forget the majority of countries whose suffering increases. After previous crises, such as in 2008, we saw the world come together on bold solutions that would prevent future crises and address inequality. While agreements were reached, implementation failed. Had we improved debt restructuring, dealt with tax issues and corruption and put in place financial crisis resolution tools before this crisis - the pandemic would not have spurred the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. It's critical in the coming months and years, we mobilize the political will to implement solutions. Implementing solutions now will help us deal with the current crisis and prevent future crisis.

    My organization, Jubilee USA, represents all major religious groups. Inspired by the scriptures of Jews and Christians and the teachings of Islam, we believe in God's promise to us - the Jubilee Promise. We are promised to live in a world where we are all protected from having too little or too much. A promise where God shared with us a rich and abundant world and we are closest to the Creator when we share those resources among one another.

    Download Eric LeCompte's remarks as a PDF here.


  • United Nations Convenes High-Level COVID Response Session for Vulnerable Countries

    Washington DC – The United Nations convened on COVID response and development needs for vulnerable, small island and landlocked countries. The President of the Economic and Social Council, Pakistan Ambassador Munir Akram organized the high-level event to focus on countries struggling with specific disadvantages from the crisis.

    “Small islands, poor countries and landlocked nations faced considerable risks and vulnerabilities before the pandemic struck,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and one of the primary speakers at the session. “The COVID pandemic made the situation worse and too many countries are left out of global agreements to deal with the crisis."

    The pandemic set back progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, targets the international community adopted in 2015, for the countries discussed during the special UN session today.

    “These countries struggle to provide vaccines and lack aid to support jobs, address climate change and feed their people,” noted LeCompte.

    High-level speakers at the session include Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde; Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi; Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General and the Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, Communications and the Minister responsible for Climate Change of Fiji; Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United  Nations  and  Co-Chair  of  the  Preparatory  Committee  for  the  Fifth  UN  Conference on LDCs; Baroness Patricia J. Scotland QC, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat; Lindsey Zuluaga, White House Director for International Economic Policy, National Security Council, USA; Jose Antonio Ocampo, Chairperson of the Committee for Development Policy of the Economic and Social Council; Mr. Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union; Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary General and Special Representative of the Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

    The UN session takes place from 10:00 to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM New York Eastern Daylight Time.

    Read the schedule and speakers here.

    View the special UN session live and see recordings here.

    Read Jubilee USA Network Executive Director Eric LeCompte's Speech here


  • Jubilee USA Statement on President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate

    Washington DC – On April 22-23 President Biden hosted more than 40 world leaders for a virtual climate summit. Biden announced a new US target to halve fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050, and pledged to double annual public climate finance for developing countries by 2024. He also unveiled an international climate finance strategy prepared by Treasury.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of religious development group Jubilee USA Network, releases the following statement on President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate:

    “The summit encourages greater climate action at upcoming G7, G20 and UN meetings.

    “Biden's summit is important because it included leaders from countries of all sizes and regions. We can only address climate change together and Biden is bringing a broad range of participants together. 

    "The summit included business and labor groups, climate activists and the Pope.

    “The guest list conveyed, better than any amount of words, the intention to listen to all and build broad-based support to tackle the climate crisis.

    “Treasury vowed to align international financial policies with climate objectives.

    “Treasury Secretary Yellen sees that developing countries can succeed on the climate agenda if we also focus on global pandemic response and development.

    “For many countries the ability to invest on sustainable, resilient, low-emission infrastructure hinges upon decisive solutions to their dire debt situations."

    Read Jubilee USA's release on White House and Treasury climate commitments at the Leaders Summit on Climate here.

    Read President Biden's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here.

    Read Secretary Yellen's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here


  • Biden Vows Cut to US Emissions as Yellen Commits Full Power of Treasury to Address Climate Change

    Washington DC – Financial decisions play a critical role in solving climate change, advocated Treasury Secretary Yellen during a US-hosted climate summit. More than 40 world leaders are attending the two-day virtual gathering convened by President Biden. Biden announced a new US target to halve fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050. 

    “The summit encourages world leaders to do more to protect our planet and environment,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Secretary Yellen's powerful words remind us that climate change decisions are linked to financial decisions and global coronavirus response."

    In a strategy unveiled on Tuesday, Treasury pledged to confront climate change, domestically and globally, in all decisions the financial institution considers. To ensure all agencies within Treasury focus on climate change, Yellen named John Morton as the department's first Climate Counselor to lead the Climate Hub, reporting directly to Yellen on climate matters.

    “Treasury is playing a key leadership role at the IMF and G20 to confront climate change worldwide," stated LeCompte. 

    This year the US co-chairs the G20 sustainable finance working group which will have a role in climate change issues.

    In a speech on Wednesday to a group of private investors and creditors, the Institute of International Finance, Yellen asserted that developing countries are vulnerable to climate change. She underscored that infrastructure investments should be low-emission, resilient and sustainable.

    “Treasury's encouragement for private sector investments to promote climate solutions is important,” shared LeCompte. "I worry that Yellen's words are falling on deaf ears. In spite of the urging of the US, IMF, G20, UN and World Bank, too much of the private sector refuses to participate in coronavirus debt relief. Segments of the private sector are forcing developing countries to choose between paying debt or supporting their people and addressing climate change."

    In March, Jubilee USA Network and Treasury organized a roundtable with Yellen and high-ranking religious leaders. At the meeting, the Secretary shared her vision of Treasury's role in combating climate change. 

    See the full agenda for President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate here.

    Read Secretary Yellen's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here

    Read Secretary Yellen's speech to the Institute of International Finance here.

    Read Treasury's readout of the Jubilee USA High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

    Read about the Jubilee USA High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

    Read President Biden's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here.


  • America Magazine Pens In-Depth Feature on Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA, Pope Francis, Debt, Covid

    America Magazine features Eric LeCompte on Jubilee USA's debt relief work amid the pandemic, complementing Pope Francis' strong calls for debt relief and protection of the vulnerable during this crisis. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full story.

    Pope Francis warns us: Covid-19 is not the only global crisis we’re facing right now

    Eric LeCompte could not have asked for a more timely and effective celebrity endorsement of the work of the Jubilee USA Network to confront—yet again—a bubbling-under debt crisis that threatens a staggering impact on the world’s most vulnerable people. “We’re approaching the greatest wave of debt crises and debt restructurings the world has ever seen,” he said in an interview with America. “Fifty-six percent of all countries in the world are either [already in] debt crisis or on the verge of debt crisis,” he said, “so it’s an incredibly significant issue, and it’s become more significant because of the coronavirus pandemic.” Nations in Africa have been particularly hard hit, with 14 countries vulnerable to default and nine others in default or on the verge of default.

    Decades of progress against extreme poverty is currently at risk, Mr. LeCompte said. A sobering report from the World Bank warned in October that 150 million people could be moving back into extreme poverty this year. “Because of the debt trap and the pandemic, we’re facing the worst losses in development in the last 50 years,” Mr. LeCompte said.

    The Group of 20, a policy-making forum of the world’s largest 20 economies, and the I.M.F. have created an emergency process to respond to the crisis for the 73 “very poorest countries in the world”—Zambia, Chad and Ethiopia have already appealed for relief under this emergency debt relief process—but that emergency response still leaves out a substantial number of nations facing overwhelming debt, Mr. LeCompte said.

    Then as now, the stakes could not be higher. “Debt means death” was Mr. LeCompte’s blunt summary of the implications of the crises, which have forced low-income states to disburse “more in debt payments than…all of their health care, education and social services combined.”

    Click here for the full story.


  • Telam Features Jubilee USA at Economic and Social Council Meeting

    Telam features Jubilee USA in the latest discussion at Argentina's Economic and Social Council meeting that addressed the challenges facing Latin America as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The forum also addressed the importance of debt restructuring and Special Drawing Rights. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

    El Presidente pidió renegociar tasas y plazos por la deuda con el FMI

    El presidente Alberto Fernández pidió este jueves "renegociar" las tasas y los plazos de pago de la deuda que el país contrajo con el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), al encabezar esta tarde la apertura de la reunión plenaria del Consejo Económico y Social (CES) con miembros del Grupo Asesor Externo. "Lo que más buscamos no es postergar pagos, sino encontrar una solución al problema de la deuda, de modo de tener tiempo para crecer y que lo que comprometamos a futuro se pueda cumplir. De otro modo, la restructuración de la deuda será un problema que se dilate y no quiero incrementarlo sino resolverlo", completó el mandatario. Fernández señaló que la Argentina "es un país que enfrenta un problema de deuda singular, que tal vez no haya otros en el mundo" y señaló que "siempre esa deuda le ha generado un condicionante para poder avanzar y crecer".

    De la reunión plenaria participaron el presidente del CES, Gustavo Beliz; el ministro de Economía, Martín Guzmán; el profesor de la Universidad de Columbia y consejero de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), Jeffrey Sachs; la secretaria General de la Secretaría General Iberoamericana (Segib), Rebeca Grynspan; el director ejecutivo del Jubilee USA Network, Eric LeCompte; y la secretaria Ejecutiva de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal), Alicia Bárcena; además de los integrantes del Consejo.

    Entre otros temas, los participantes analizaron el futuro del trabajo, el sistema de obras públicas, la reforma de la arquitectura financiera global y regional, los desafíos de Latinoamérica en la era del Covid-19, la relevancia de la reestructuración de deudas, la ampliación de derechos especiales de giro (DEG) del FMI y el financiamiento del desarrollo en la Argentina.

     

    Read the full article here.

     


  • Jubilee USA Statement on IMF and World Bank Meetings and Development Committee Communiqué

    Washington DC - The Development Committee, a ministerial-level consensus building and policymaking body for the World Bank and the IMF, met as part of the Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA, a UN expert who monitors IMF and World Bank meetings, releases the following statement on the meetings and World Bank Development Committee Communiqué:

    "While we've made some significant progress in combating the coronavirus crisis, this week's meetings lacked ambition and should be defined as a lost opportunity.

    "IMF and World Bank analysis shows that developing countries face deeper challenges because of the pandemic and yet, the institutions seem to be taking the crisis less seriously.

    "High debts and rising deficits limit the ability of developing countries to mount an effective pandemic response. The current IMF and World Bank measures are insufficient.

    “Access to vaccines, aid and debt are all connected. The World Bank found that only 2% of vaccines have reached poor countries.

    “World Bank analysis unveiled this week shows that the number of poor countries in debt crises or with high debts continues to grow.

    “The importance of private creditors in debt relief is a theme throughout the Spring meetings, but not a single solution to promote their involvement has been raised this week.

    “All countries that defaulted last year were middle-income countries. This group of countries faces incredible challenges and are not included in current relief and aid initiatives.

    "Moving forward more IDA funding to support poor countries is a very positive step.

    "This week, the IMF and World Bank are taking strong steps to link addressing climate change as a part of pandemic response."

    Read the World Bank Development Committee Communiqué here.

    Read Jubilee USA's statement on the IMFC communiqué here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on 260 faith, labor, human rights, and other groups pressing the IMF, G20 and White House on a COVID response here.

    Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's Global Financial Stability report 
    here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

    Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

  • Jubilee USA Statement on World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings and IMFC Communiqué

    Washington DC - World leaders, finance ministers, heads of corporations and development groups are meeting virtually for the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF policymaking body, discussed policy responses to the global COVID-19 economic crisis, including tax, aid, vaccines, Special Drawing Rights and debt processes to support developing countries.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, who monitors the IMF, releases the following statement on the IMFC Communiqué and IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings:

    "While noting its analysis is uncertain, the IMF continues to herald a faster global economic recovery. At the same time, the IMF is saying that most countries will be worse off than they were before the pandemic. 

    "This week, the IMF released analysis that forecasts stronger recovery centered on two countries, the United States and China. The same IMF analysis notes most countries will continue to struggle and developing countries will lose decades of development gains.

    “Wide differences in resources between rich and poor countries sow the seeds of a more unequal post-COVID economy.

    “The support for the creation of $650 billion in emergency reserve funds, or Special Drawing Rights, means new resources for developing countries struggling with the pandemic.

    "Thanks to the United States Treasury and the IMF, consensus is growing on a global minimum corporate tax. 

    "A global minimum corporate tax means new revenues to fight poverty and address inequality.

    "A global digital tax agreement can provide additional revenues for coronavirus-hit developing countries. 

    "Almost 95 million people entered the ranks of extreme poverty due to the pandemic over the last year. As developing countries face decades of lost development gains, we need to do more to ensure that all countries recover, not just rich countries.

    "According to the IMF, the entire future of the global economy hinges on the pace of global vaccination.

    “Debt relief is not moving quickly enough to address the needs of all developing countries struggling with the pandemic.

    "I'm incredibly concerned by references in G20 and IMF statements about ending debt relief measures as suffering increases in developing countries.

    “The poorest countries will need to spend $450 billion over five years to fight the pandemic and restart some growth. Only significant debt cuts and aid can get them there.

    "As deficits and debts rise in many developing countries, rising interest rates in wealthy economies could precipitate another global financial crisis.

    "It's critical that world leaders are placing more emphasis on solving the climate crisis as we tackle the health and economic crises spurred by the coronavirus.

    "In the next months, we must focus more on moving forward processes to prevent the next crisis. Had world leaders implemented past global agreements on crisis prevention, we'd have the tools in place to deal with the current crisis."

    Read the IMFC Communiqué here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on 260 faith, labor, human rights, and other groups pressing the IMF, G20 and White House on a COVID response here.

    Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

  • Jubilee USA Statement on G20 Communiqué's COVID Response and Recovery Plans

    Washington DC – The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met on global COVID-19 response and plans for a green and inclusive recovery ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the G20 Communiqué:

    "We've seen progress on debt relief and aid, but we still need to solve multiple challenges so countries can get through this crisis.

    “The G20 extended debt payment relief for the 73 poorest countries until end-2021. However, the G20 states this is the final extension. It is unlikely that the breathing space indebted countries get with this extension will be enough.

    “Unfortunately, the G20 continues to hope that the private sector will participate in debt relief without more compelling actions on the part of the G20.

    "We are seeing some of the most significant increases in poverty and job loss in developing middle-income countries. Not enough is being done by the G20 to address the challenges these countries face because of the pandemic.

    "The real tests of the common framework, is how successful the process will be in reducing debt and involving the private sector.

    "Ideally, the common framework or a process like that will be extended to developing middle-income countries.

    “The decision to upgrade the sustainable finance study group that China and the US lead, to a working group, reflects the increased prominence of climate finance in the G20 agenda."

    Read the G20 Communiqué here.


  • 260 Faith, Labor and Development Groups Press IMF, G20 and White House on COVID Response

    Ahead of Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings, World's Largest Unions, Human Rights Groups, Environmental and Religious Institutions, Call for Aid, Debt Relief, Access to Emergency Reserves and Climate Protections 

    Washington DC – As G20, IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings convene virtually on global COVID response, 260 groups call for developing country aid and policies to prevent future crises and protect the environment.

    Organized by Jubilee USA Network, 260 religious groups, anti-poverty organizations, labor unions, environmental and human rights institutions signed a letter on coronavirus crisis response to the White House, G20 and IMF. 

    “World leaders worked hard over the last year to tackle the health and economic crises spurred by the COVID pandemic," said Eric LeCompte, a UN finance expert who heads the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA spearheaded the letter effort. “We must do more. Unless we take immediate action to solidify more aid and relief, we face lost decades of development and millions more will suffer.”

    The G20 agreed to suspend debt payments for 73 developing countries through next June and created a process for the same countries to reduce debt. The IMF announced it would cancel debt payments for 28 of the world's poorest countries into October.

    In recent weeks, the G7 supported an allocation of emergency reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Treasury notified Congress of support for the aid and the G20 is expected to announce support for SDRs this week.

    “If the IMF and G20 move forward emergency reserves, it means right away developing countries can access more than $200 billion to fight the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus," stated LeCompte. "We will likely see another additional process where hundreds of billions of more dollars in Special Drawing Rights could be transferred from wealthy countries to developing countries for further support."

    Major religious institutions lead the Jubilee USA letter to the IMF, White House and G20. The signers include: The Union for Reform Judaism, All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches and the Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and United Church of Christ Churches. The Unitarian Universalist Association and the largest representations of Quaker communities and Buddhist consortiums are on the letter. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a separate, companion joint letter with Jubilee USA Network and Pope Francis called again for a debt relief process in his Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

    Counting their membership in the millions, labor bodies including the International Trade Union Confederation, United Steelworkers (USW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) joined faith groups on letter. Other signers include human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Pax Christi and also environmental advocates ranging from Amazon Watch to Friends of the Earth. Development groups were represented and included Islamic Relief, American Jewish World Service, American Friends Service Committee, Bread for the World, Action Aid, Oxfam, RESULTS and Health Gap.

    On March 16th, Jubilee USA organized a roundtable with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the highest-ranking leaders to specifically go over the calls in the Jubilee letter. A separate letter with 240 groups supporting SDRs was sent to the G20. The additional G20 SDR letter was coordinated by Jubilee USA and LATINDADD.

    Read Jubilee USA's COVID-19 White House, IMF, G20 Letter here.

    Read the joint US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Jubilee USA Network Letter to President Biden here.

    Read about Jubilee USA's High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

    Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

    Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

    Read the letter from 240 groups to the IMF and G20 here.

  • IMF: Indebted Countries Suffer if US Interest Rates Rise

    Washington DC – The IMF warns that rising US interest rates could impact the ability of developing countries to pay debt, leading to prolonged economic crisis. The warning comes ahead of IMF, G20 and World Bank meetings, with the Fund's release of the Global Financial Stability Report.

    “All countries that defaulted over the last year were middle-income countries,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “Unfortunately, developing middle-income countries are not included in IMF and G20 debt relief solutions."

    The report warns that recovery from the pandemic will be unequal between rich and poor countries and that more needs to be done to strengthen long-term stability around the globe. This morning the IMF released the World Economic Outlook Report estimating that 95 million more people fell into extreme poverty over the last year, living on less than $1.90 a day.

    "Wealthy countries invested in big stimulus packages and can rebound more quickly," said LeCompte. "Billions of people in developing countries are left behind and their lives will be even worse after the pandemic."

    Read the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

    Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

    Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

    Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.


  • published IMF Reports Pandemic Economic Outlook Uncertain in Press 2021-04-06 09:53:33 -0400

    IMF Reports Pandemic Economic Outlook Uncertain

    Amidst Rising Inequality, Ninety-Five Million Could Fall into Extreme Poverty  

    Washington DC – "The pandemic will reverse the progress made since the 1990s in reducing global poverty and will increase inequality," states the IMF in its flagship World Economic Outlook report. 

    "The forecasts of rising inequality and tens of millions of people falling into extreme poverty must be averted," stated Eric LeCompte who monitors the IMF and is the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "We can reverse these dire predictions with strong aid packages and deep debt relief for all developing countries."

    According to the Fund, the crisis could drive 95 million more people into extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 a day.

    "We have the resources and the ability to act now," said LeCompte. "We cannot allow decades of development to be lost." 

    Some wealthy countries are rebounding more quickly due to stimulus, according to the IMF.

    "While IMF forecasts remain uncertain due to the depth of the crisis, the Fund predicts inequality will deepen between rich and poor countries," noted LeCompte.

    Read the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

    Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

    Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

     


  • IMF Cancels Debt for 28 Poor Countries into Fall of 2021

    Washington DC – The IMF Executive Board extended a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries. 

    "This is good news for poor countries struggling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who worked on the creation of the debt relief mechanism. "Cancelling debt, for these vulnerable countries, means resources can be spent on healthcare and social services."

    The IMF debt relief process, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) provided debt relief for the last year and now continues debt relief through October 15, 2021. The process previously offered debt relief for Haiti and three African countries hit by Ebola crises.

    "While this is important debt relief in the short term, we now need to work on cancelling debts for the long term for these countries," said LeCompte. "Only long-term debt reduction can support developing countries to emerge from the pandemic with resilience."

    Read the IMF release on the CCRT extension here.


  • Treasury Notifies Congress of $650 Billion Emergency Reserves to Fight Global COVID Crisis

    Washington DC – Treasury notified Congress of its support for $650 billion in IMF global reserves, also known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), to assist developing countries struggling with the coronavirus crisis. US law requires a ninety-day advance alert to Congress before the US votes for SDRs with the IMF board.

    “The notification paves the way for the US to vote in favor of these funds that developing countries need," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA advocated for the creation of these funds since the advent of the pandemic. "As early as the summer, hundreds of billions of these emergency reserve funds can now be authorized for countries struggling with the pandemic."

    In February, Jubilee USA Network and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Secretary Yellen and President Biden expressing support for a new SDRs allocation. Jubilee USA Network also coordinated a letter to the G20 signed by more than 215 organizations worldwide in support of SDRs. The G20 and IMF announced support for the $650 billion allocation.

    Treasury says low-income countries will see $21 billion from a new allocation and other developing countries receive $221 billion.

    Read the letter on SDRs, aid and debt relief from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here.

    Read the letter organized by Jubilee USA with 200 plus signers urging the G20 to support SDRs here.

    Read about the IMF's announcement of support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

    Read the US Treasury's Fact Sheet on the benefits of a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights here.

  • IMF Head: Global Recovery Uncertain as People Face Income Drops

    Washington DC – International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva warned of an uncertain global recovery as the world struggles with the COVID spurred economic crisis. The IMF Managing Director stated concern that average incomes in developing countries faced drops of 20% and 11% in advanced economies. "This loss of income means millions of people will face destitution, homelessness, and hunger," reported Georgieva during her curtain raiser speech ahead of the Spring IMF and World Bank meetings.

    "While prospects for economic recovery are higher in the United States and China, every country in the world faces greater inequality and increases in poverty," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has monitored IMF policies for more than a decade. "The average person is worse off as the pandemic economic crisis continues."

    The IMF chief warned developing countries, with less vaccine access, lower budgets and higher debts, could face more pressure. In particular developing middle-income countries face serious challenges.

    “The IMF is right that middle-income countries need more support,” added LeCompte. "Developing middle-income countries face the highest job losses and increases in poverty. Yet, these countries are left out of critical aid and debt relief initiatives."

    Georgieva highlighted one area on the horizon that could benefit these countries, is the creation of $650 billion in global reserve funds known as Special Drawing Rights.

    “The creation of Special Drawing Rights will deliver more than $200 billion in aid for developing countries," reflected LeCompte.

    View Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's Spring IMF Meetings Curtain Raiser Speech here

    Read about the IMF's announcement of support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.


  • published Adeyemo Confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Treasury in Press 2021-03-25 16:59:25 -0400

    Adeyemo Confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Treasury

    Washington DC – The US Senate voted to confirm Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of Treasury.

    Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and who works closely with US Treasury, releases the following statement on the confirmation of Treasury Deputy Secretary Adewale Adeyemo:

    "Wally Adeyemo will be an outstanding Treasury Deputy Secretary.

    "As the US and world wrestle with the pandemic and economic crisis, he understands the need to stimulate the US and global economy.

    "Adeyemo is uniquely suited to work with world leaders on the debt, transparency, aid, climate and tax solutions that we need."


  • IMF Announces $650 Billion in Emergency Reserves Needed to Confront Pandemic Crisis

    Washington DC - The International Monetary Fund announced $650 billion in emergency reserve funds are needed to confront the global coronavirus health and economic crisis. The funds are likened to a type of currency the International Monetary Fund creates, called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

    "This announcement is incredible progress," stated Eric LeCompte, the executive director of Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte's development group advocated the use of these emergency reserve funds for more than a year. "This information now helps countries, like the United States, begin a process to authorize the creation of these emergency funds. Developing countries need these resources to confront the crisis as soon as possible."

    About $224 billion would immediately go to developing low-income and middle-income countries in the creation of $650 billion SDRs. US Treasury has called for the remaining amount to be donated to support vulnerable countries.

    SDRs were last created following the 2008 financial crisis. On Tuesday, Jubilee USA Network organized a roundtable with high-ranking religious leaders and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that focused on SDRs.

    "Special Drawing Rights can provide support for countries struggling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus," noted LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "As countries are struggling with the crisis, SDRs are an important part of the relief developing countries need."

    In February, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA sent a letter on SDRs to President Biden and Yellen. Jubilee USA Network with Latindadd, a Latin American development group, organized a letter with more than 200 organizations calling on the G20 to support a SDR issuance.

    On Friday, the G7 agreed to a "sizeable" new issuance of Special Drawing Rights.

    Read about Friday's G7 SDR announcement here.

    Read about the March 16th Secretary Yellen Jubilee USA Network Meeting here.

    Read the letter on SDRs, aid and debt relief from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here.

    Read the letter organized by Jubilee USA with 200 plus signers urging the G20 to support SDRs here.

    Read the IMF Managing Director's statement here